Sneak Peek: Arthur Comes Home

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Disclaimer:  Sneak peeks may include material that has not been sufficiently edited. Read at your own risk. All content in this category is copyright material.

Where you see one of these: “Canoe Lake (Creek, 1908)” it refers to a piece of Thomson’s art. Go to Google and image search for Tom Thomson’s “Creek”


I awoke to sunshine beaming through my window, and after copious amounts of coffee and a few cigarettes set out for my morning walk down the footpath that led away from the front of my cabin (the side facing the lake is always the front of a cabin). The leaves were still slippery from the rain the preceding night. The smell was beautiful, nostalgic, like the smell of your parents’ house, or a good friend’s. It felt like home as I carefully made my way down a small hill (wet leaves are kind of like kids’ slip and slide). I took great care not to go on such a ride. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that sliding down the path would be exciting. Larks!

Summer Day, Tom Thomson

The path narrowed, making my arms wet from the leaves as I brushed by them. It became little more than a fox track before breaking out onto a sandy beach and a beautiful blue, shimmering lake. Canoe Lake. I had to shield my eyes from the reflection. It was bright, and so beautiful. I damn near cried; this was where I lived, now. I could walk down and see this anytime I wanted.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Audrie. I had recently ended a long-term relationship. Did I really want that again? I was being presumptuous just entertaining the idea, of course. I guess I just wanted to spend time with a beautiful woman again. Shallow perhaps, but you know that’s what you’d want – or, of course, a strapping young lad. Anyway, you need a friend when you live in such isolation. The narrow road to my cabin was washed away mostly by the spring rains and runoff from melting snow, so you pretty much needed either a 4×4 or a car that you didn’t really give a shit about to traverse the 40km of bumpy gravel road to my cabin from highway 60. I guess that’s my Land Rover.

I walked back to the cabin through the door to the verandah, which closed violently behind me. There was a spring on it to keep it closed; I guess for the wind? It couldn’t be to keep small animals out, they had their own methods, as I have mentioned. I went back into the cabin and started cleaning.

© Randy Mitson, Algonquin Outfitters

I started in the kitchen. Turning on the taps, the pipes sputtered to life and quickly deposited a gallon of silt, then a gallon of green that was, alarmingly, quite a bit more viscous than water, and then stopped. Without a wrench, I had a quick look under the sink. My voice boomed at the pipes, “Holy crap!” It was a mass grave of various dead little animals. I went for the broom and heard a high-pitched whine and then some very violent thunking. The tap had come alive again and it was clear, and it was good, and it had the same silky texture that I had known as a child. I felt as though I had won a victory. That is until the expedition to locate my hot water heater. We’ll get to that later. Maybe.

At least the gas stove still worked (it was the first thing I tested before moving the furniture around. Thinking about it, I guess I could have just told you this earlier). I cleaned out the odd fluids from the sink, afraid to touch them in case they were radioactive, then the counters and cupboards. (With a fresh new disgusting surprise in each one.) How that mouse had died from what appeared to be a Twister death match confounds me to this day.

By evening the place looked good – except for the toilet in the main room – and I sat down on the creaky chair on the verandah (Evening Sky, 1913), thumbing through my field guide to birds until my head started nodding.

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